6th July – 8th July 2012. Written by Xin Li.
When it was mentioned that Penang is the kitchen of Malaysia, I couldn’t agree more. Thanks to the rich influx of people from various cultures and a great location with access to the sea, the food here is simply awesome in terms of variety and flavours.
If you want to really enjoy Penang at its fullest, you have to go beyond your usual comfort zone of eating in an air-conditioned restaurant or café and head to the streets where you can find plenty of make-shift food stalls selling everything from satay, curry mee, laksa and ubiquitous char kway teow.
While, it is part of the daily lives of the locals there, enjoying delicious, orgasmic food on the street is an experience you probably won’t get in Singapore nowadays.
One such street with food stalls at night is Lebuh Chulia where you could also find the yummy Chicken Cheese Burgers from Old Trafford Burgers, located at the junction between Lebuh Chulia and Love Lane. Burgers here go for 4-7 RM with a generous serving of fries with chilli sauce and mayonnaise.
Further down along Lebuh Chulia towards the Kapitan Kling Mosque, you would find even more (tempting) street food. We had wanton noodles here too. The stalls seem like an addition to the existing coffeeshops here, they provide the food, and the coffeeshop sells the drinks.
We had kway teow soup from a stall near Lorong Seckchuan. A lighter dish compared to all the wanton noodles we had earlier.
Penang also has its own version of Newton Food Centre, the Gurney Drive Hawker Centre. The food here is slightly more expensive than those you could find in the kopitiams of Georgetown.
However, I think it is still a convenient place to get all kinds of local food and definitely more affordable compared to the highly priced Gurney Plaza or not in the mood for seafood.
You can find Asam Laksa here, a robust and sourish (not to mention spicy) dish. Apparently, the Penang Assam Laksa is ranked number 7th on the list of 50 Most Delicious Foods by CNNGo last year, only behind Germany’s hamburger, Japan’s sushi, China’s Peking duck, Mexico’s chocolates, Italy’s Neapolitan pizzas and Thailand’s Massaman Curry. Singapore’s Chilli Crab was 35th and Chicken Rice was ranked 45th.
Prawn Mee with a rich red colour, the broth was very flavourful indeed.
Of course, how can we miss out the char kway teow, the aphrodisiac of Penang? Although, the one we had at Gurney Drive wasn’t as stellar as Kedai Kopi Ho Ping’s or Kafe Heng Huat’s it was still rather decent.
One of the beauty of Penang is that you get to savour other cuisines as well, and we found ourselves back at Restoran Kapitan for its tandoori chicken and naans. Didn’t disappoint me usual, but skip the rogan josh. Nearby there are also many eateries selling Nasi Kandar, a popular Indian dish in Penang. Pity my companions ain't fans of Indian food.
Teh Tarik anyone?